The temporary closure for refurbishment of the Museo de Arte de Ponce allowed a selection of works from its holdings to travel to some of the world's leading museums, giving the public in a number of countries the chance to explore a diverse collection representing history and art generated in Africa, America and Europe, the three cultures which have shaped Puerto Rico.The Museo del Prado was one of those chosen, and in 2009 it was the venue for the exhibition La bella durmiente. Pintura victoriana del Museo de Arte de Ponce (Sleeping Beauty. Victorian painting from the Museo de Arte de Ponce) , the perfect opportunity to play host to works from the English school, one of the least represented in the holdings of the Prado and Spanish collections, but of which the Puerto Rican museum does have some outstanding examples. The quality and presence of European painting among the works from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, which have made it a flagship institution for European culture in the Americas and the Caribbean, are particularly beneficial in forging a relationship and dialogue with the holdings of Spain's leading gallery, which in this regard has assembled one of the most remarkable collections in the world.
It is against this backdrop of mutual understanding, presentation and artistic ties, that the opportunity has arisen to follow up on this initial encounter between the two institutions by organising an exhibition focusing on the Museo del Prado at the Museo de Arte de Ponce itself. El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Rubens, Van Dyck and Goya are just some of the masters whose works will be on public display in Puerto Rico.